If all goes to plan, by the time you’re reading this, the final Peacock Hill novel should be finished. (Fun fact: all our posts here on InspyRomance are scheduled by the week prior to their posting date. This gives the admin team some sanity during the week so we aren’t biting our nails hoping that a post goes up down to the wire. There have been times…)
I will just say the road to this final novel’s completion has been…fraught.
I have been plagued with self-doubt and caught up in real life drama and challenges and writing has been below the bottom of the list of things I want to do.
And yet, I knew the series needed to be finished. Danny and Claire have been waiting for their happy ending for five books, wasn’t it time for them to get their day in the sun? Except, of course, I can’t promise you it is Danny and Claire who end up together at the end of A Heart Reconsidered. Or can I?
Jamie Fischer entered the scene in A Heart Rearranged, and he got a little gleam in his eye when he met Claire. So I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens.
I don’t have a blurb. Or a pre-order link. I’ll probably just send the book out into the world without a pre-order at this point (because I really do want it to go out in November, but with editing timelines that may be a near thing, and I don’t want to put up a pre-order and then miss the date.)
But what I do have is a cover that I am absolutely in love with. My newsletter subscribers got to see this a few weeks ago (so if you like to be the first to know and see things, and you’re not signed up, you can do that here) and they all agreed with me that it was a fabulous way to round out the series.
I love that it’s a nod to the first cover (A Heart Restored) with the front of Peacock Hill. I love the icy blue that speaks of winter and chillier weather. And I love the nods to Christmas decorations, because while it’s not a Christmas book, per se, it is set at Christmas time. (And that feeds into me wanting to get this out in November! Tis the season!)
Ending a series is always a challenge. I love my characters and have enjoyed spending time at Peacock Hill. But I am also ready to move on. The difference this go-round when compared to other series is that I don’t actually know what’s next.
My books are unabashedly Christian. Not beat you over the head with preaching and people who are too good to be true, but still there is no way for them to be called anything other than straight up Christian. And it seems like the market for that is shrinking rapidly. Sweet and clean — even if there’s a hint of going to church and maybe “she prayed” in there — is eating up the contemporary Christian romance market. I don’t know if it’s popular because it’s what people want or if it’s what people buy because it’s all that’s really out there (it becomes a bit of a chicken/egg thing after a while.)
What I do know is I’m not called to write that.
Peacock Hill was supposed to be a lighter series, devoid of the hard issues that face Christians living for Jesus in today’s world like you’ll find in all my other series. (Except, I guess, my Operation Romance novellas. Those are pretty light and fluffy.) But that didn’t end up being the case.
Because, you see, my heart breaks for our world. My heart breaks for Christians in today’s culture who are being swayed to believe that as long as you’re kind and loving then it doesn’t matter who or what your worship. Don’t get me wrong, we should be kind. We should be loving. But we should also be Jesus. Jesus who spoke truth even when it was hard. Jesus who ate with sinners and left them with the realization that they needed Him–that they needed to turn from their sin and follow Jesus and let Him transform them into His image.
And so these are the things my characters wrestle with. Because it’s hard to hold that line. It’s hard to be painted as unloving and full of hate because you believe things that aren’t popular in the world today and you choose to stand firm rather than being swept along.
So what’s next? I don’t know. I have ideas, but I’m not convinced they’d sell. And the reality is that it costs money to put out quality fiction. There are, at a minimum, editors and cover designers to pay. And if my books aren’t even earning back that initial investment? Then it’s hard to justify.
So like I said in my post last month, I’m spending a lot of time praying about what God wants me to do. Because I just don’t know.
I’d love to offer two commenters their choice of any of my ebooks (and if you want this last Peacock Hill, and don’t mind waiting, that’s totally on the table). Tell me what you love about reading sweet/clean and/or what you love about more unabashedly Christian romance.